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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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  Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Today dawned with blue skies and variable winds, but was fairly cold. As the day progressed, it got progressively gloomier and snowstorms came and went. Nonetheless, the work went on.

In the morning, the group with the depth sounder left to do a transect of lines 5 and 6, covering a distance of 62 km was covered and returning to camp after nine hours. During this run, they did not use the accumulation radar that was also mounted on the Pisten Bully as they wanted to ensure a clean run before adding another radar. They got a good depth sounder data set today. Tomorrow they will take another long run with cross lines using both the depth sounder and the accumulation radar. One interesting thing was that the radar works best at about 45 C, but in the enclosed Pisten Bully, the cab gets warmer than that from the generated heat. So every 10-15 minutes, someone has to hold the door open for 10 minutes to cool the cab. Prasad jokingly calls this our advanced heating and cooling technology.

The winds were too high at times to use the plane wave radar today, so part of the morning was used to try to troubleshoot the problem that occurred yesterday. When the generator cut off due to a tiny leak in the fuel line yesterday, the radar went off and could not be rebooted. It was hoped that this was due to the radar getting too cold, so the group set up a heater in the box to see if that would resolve the problem. They also worked on the GPS logger to ensure that it would reliably save the data. They were successful in resolving the GPS issue after a short period of discussion and testing. It is not yet clear whether the warming will take care of the radar issue.

In the afternoon, the group went out to dig two more snow pits and sample one. After 4.5 hours, they returned - a little cold and quite tired. All are saying that some Aleve or Ibuprofen may be called for to relieve their aching muscles. They got some good samples and data from the snowpit. Tomorrow they hope to dig another one and do additional sampling as time and weather permit.

Outreach wrote an article about the penguins of Antarctica and e-mailed it to 22 teachers and worked on answering some student�s questions. A tour of the big ice core drill and an interview with the scientists working on that was scheduled for Thursday. The experiment for middle school students that was attempted yesterday was repeated successfully. We also took the photos for another chapter of Bears On Ice and some video of the teams leaving. Prasad will also speak to the camp staff about remote sensing on Thursday evening. We plan another near-real time video tomorrow as well as an audio conference with a group of teachers in Kansas.

There is a flight coming in tomorrow and Eric Akers will return to McMurdo when that flight departs. The rover will accompany him on the flight. After three weeks on the ice, he is eager to return to Kansas.

NOTE: This was the entire journal entry, not just page 1.

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